Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

Fall 2010 Fiction
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780060760885
Hardcover Price: $15.99

Shortly after Fern was born, Cecile, a fledging poet, walked out on her husband and three daughters. It's now the summer of 1968 and eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters are flying from Brooklyn New York to Oakland, California to visit their estranged mother. Their father, it seems, has deemed "it's time."

Delphine, charged with the care of Vonetta and Fern, is justifiably worried about this excursion. Not only is she apprehensive about spending the next month with their infamously irresponsible mother, she is not at all confident that they will even be met at the airport. Without warmth or ceremony, Cecile collects her daughters and takes them to her small apartment. Cecile demands they hand over the money their father gave them for a trip to Disneyland; she forbids them to enter the kitchen where she conducts her mysterious work printing papers.

Leaving her daughters to fend for themselves, Cecile sends them out daily to eat breakfast at the community center run by the Black Panthers, where she is known as Sister Inzilla. Received kindly at the center, the girls become involved in a variety of activities. Obervant and perceptive, Delphine figures out that her mother's printing assignments are not about poetry as she claims, but are wholly about the revolutionary political activities of the Black Panthers. Set within a significant time and place in American history, this skillfully written novel is powerful, realistic, and moving.

Kemie Nix   ©2010 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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